At this point in the evolution of humanity, dedicated spiritual seekers are called upon to live the dual life—a life of active participation in world affairs and a life of intense mental and spiritual preoccupation. We are reminded of this dual process in so many ways: through the physical act of inbreathing and out-breathing; as we prepare ourselves to receive and distribute the high spiritual energies available to us at the time of each monthly solar festival and then to anchor these energies at the time of the new moon. This same dual process of appearance and disappearance, of pralaya and manifestation plays out again and again, not only throughout all the planetary kingdoms of nature, but, also universally and cosmically, as one expiring solar system provides the gestational environment for the germ of the new solar system. As the esoteric wisdom teaches, "pralaya is simply subjectivity, and is not that 'which is not,' but simply that which is esoteric."1
Thus, we are reminded in many different ways that our task is to cultivate the dual process of maintaining an inner attitude of poised recollectedness as we pursue our outer service activities. In other words, we participate in the world, but we know that we are not of the world. As the mantric "Affirmation of the Disciple" declares, "we tread this way the ways of men, and know the ways of God".
Refining this dual process and cultivating it to the point where it becomes as second nature as our physical breathing is really what rendering esoteric service is all about.
Such service necessitates a loving and deliberate effort, conscious wisdom and the ability to work without attachment. These qualities, as we know, are not easy of attainment. Yet, until we have reached that stage of advancement upon the Path of Light wherein we have attained those qualities, what passes for service on the personality plane is good intention, mixed motives and frequently, a fanaticism or personality one-pointedness that insists that "all should serve as I do because the form of service that I provide is the ultimate best."
Often times, the one who serves does so because he or she is made so uncomfortable by distressing conditions that the server helps in order to relieve his or her own misery, failing then to release or relieve the sufferers because of one's myopic concerns with oneself. Thus, the esoteric wisdom warns about the consequences if the energy of the soul becomes sidetracked or tainted by personality trends on its way out into physical manifestation. Rather than bringing the centres above the diaphragm steadily into activity, as should be the case, it activates primarily the solar plexus centre, sweeping into manifestation all the astral illusions, the grandiose delusions, and the glamours of egoistic phenomena which can be seen among the leaders of various existing groups. Their work is built on what the Hindu teachers call a "sense of I-ness" which of course, needs to be eliminated before true service can be rendered.
Being aware, to some degree, about what service is not, what can then be said in a general way about service that might prove helpful? Very succinctly, service is that scientific process which calls forth all our soul powers into full expression on the physical plane. It is a soul urge or instinct, and it is the outstanding characteristic of the soul, just as desire is the outstanding characteristic of the personality. In its true sense, it is the demonstration or reflection of one's individual relationship to one's soul.
Service is and will continue to become an ever more necessary way of life—eventually, for the whole of humanity. In fact, the Science of Service is one of the three great sciences which are coming to the fore as we move into the new Age of Aquarius. Along with the Science of Meditation and the Science of the Antahkarana, the Science of Service will lead humanity from the unreal to the real and from aspiration to realisation. The reason for this is that true service is a manifestation of the Principle of Liberation and as such, it releases the imprisoned Soul consciousness. This Science is based on the Cosmic Law of Service under which the constellation of Aquarius is gradually releasing certain energies and impulses upon our earth. Aquarius is the true server, its keynote being, "Water of Life am I poured forth for thirsty men."
This Law of Service was fully expressed for the first time some 2,000 years ago by the Christ, that great forerunner of the Aquarian Age. Over the last 2000 years, the Piscean age slowly prepared the way for the divine expression of service, which, we are told, and as we can imagine, will be the glory of the coming centuries."